Student employment may help replace some MAP grant funding

By Kaylyn Zielinski

Students may think only focusing on school is best, but having a job while attending a university is beneficial.

While grants and scholarships can help pay for college, it is difficult for many students to earn enough from them to fully pay their tuition. Scholarships are not always an option.

The average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities increased by 13 percent from 2010-11 to 2015-16, according to the College Board website.

Loans may be a quick way to pay for the remaining amount of tuition and fees, but they can add up after graduation.

In 2014, students from NIU graduated with an average of the $33,324 in debt and 77 percent of graduates from NIU in 2014 had graduated with debt, according to the Institution for College Access and Success website.

Instead of turning to loans, students should try to work part-time.

“I think students have no choice these days but to work while attending classes,” said Jack King, director of Student Professional Development.

The Illinois MAP grant is a state-funded grant that many students receive based on financial need to assist in paying for college. Gov. Bruce Rauner recently vetoed a bill that would fund MAP grants and award NIU $72,847,200, according to a Feb. 22 Northern Star article.

“[To make up for the loss of the MAP grant] I’m going to have to increase my hours at work or even pick up another job,” said Samantha Schweihs, junior broadcast journalism major.

Some benefits of working in college include learning how to budget time outside of classes, gaining experience and building a resume. Part-time jobs can result in skills that will benefit students for the rest of their college career and future. It might be difficult to find jobs specific to future careers while attending classes, but students should look for internships and any type of work experience to build their resume.

“Every job can be beneficial, even jobs that are terrible jobs that you’ve [had],“ King Said. “You’ll learn what you like and what you don’t like.”

Huskies Get Hired is a great resource for students looking for jobs and internships. The service posts jobs and internships available to students and it also has a tool to help students create a resume.

There are plenty of opportunities out there for students to increase their work experience and make college more affordable so I suggest they take advantage of this as best they can.